A reunion was held today (28/11/14) at St Margarets College of descendants of migrants from the St Andrews Colonial Homes. The Homes, now known as the Dr Graham Homes, made up a boarding school in Kalimpong (West Bengal, India) mainly for children of indigenous women and European tea planters. Set up by Reverent Dr. John Anderson Graham in 1900, this Christian school educated the “Anglo-Indian” children, some of whom as teenagers were then sent to New Zealand between 1908 and 1938. The women worked as domestic servants, and the men as farm labourers.
The “Kalimpong Kids” were the subject of Jane McCabe‘s PhD thesis in the Department of History and Art History, supervised by Professor Tony Ballantyne and Dr Angela Wanhalla, both Centre members. The Centre has also supported the reunion, organised by Jane. About 65 descendants and family are attending and they have two days of planned events ahead of them.
Jane McCabe is herself a descendant of one of the original migrants, and her research involved contacting and interviewing some of the families. Her PhD was examined recently and judged “exceptional” by the examiners. Check out her website to find out more about her work.
Hocken Librarian, Sharon Dell, introduced the event, and was followed by Emeritus Professor Erik Olssen who formally launched the book. As Erik pointed out, there had not been a comprehensive biography since R.M. Burdon’s 1955 biography on New Zealand’s most successful Premier perhaps due to the the giant shadow that Seddon cast. Tom’s biography opens up considerable new perspectives and information on the man.
Tom Brooking then discussed the topic of his research, recounting Seddon’s many achievements and his ability to connect with Māori, with workers, and the general public. However he was also a man of his own times, and his imperialist jingoism and anti-Chinese sentiment would not meet with such popular acclaim today.
At 584 pages this is a substantial book, but also one destined to be a classic within New Zealand historiography.
Last year CROCC member, Dr Michael Stevens won a Fast Start Marsden Award to research how the Southland port of Bluff connected with the rest of the world, and how this impacted on the town (and vice-versa), in particular the local Kāi Tahu people. As the Royal Society stated, “As a “Bluffie” of Kai Tahu descent, Dr Stevens is ideally placed to carry out a research project that is meaningful to both academics and the local inhabitants.” In order to share his on-going research, Michael has created a new website “A World History of Bluff” with an associated Facebook Page.
Richard Seddon was a colossal figure in New Zealand politics up to his death in 1906. His Liberal Party was New Zealand’s first modern political party; his government introduced old age pensions and votes for women, as well as an industrial conciliation and arbitration system. Seddon was able, for much of his time as Prime Minister, to gain the support from a wide range of the political spectrum, at the same time that the rest of the world marvelled at the country’s “socialist” experiments.
It has been almost 60 years since an authoritative biography of Seddon has appeared, R.M. Burdon’s King Dick. Until now! CROCC member, Professor Tom Brooking’s latest book Richard Seddon: King of God’s Own has just been published by Penguin Books, and gives us fresh insights into “the Life and Times of New Zealand’s Longest-serving Prime Minister”. Congratulations, Tom.
At the Australian Historical Association conference in Brisbane last night, CROCC member Dr Angela Wanhalla was awarded the Ernest Scott Prize for History. This prize is awarded annually to the book judged to be the most distinguished contribution to the History of Australia or New Zealand or to the history of colonization published in the previous year.
Matters of the Heart: A History of Interracial Marriage in New Zealand was published by Auckland University Press.
As the judges commented “Angela Wanhalla’s ground breaking history of interracial relationships in New Zealand across two hundred years utilises not only the usual range of church and state records but also personal papers, family and local histories to track the lives of couples whose relationship was sustained over a period of time. While Maori women left little trace for the historian, Wanhalla uses analysis of images, particularly photography, to overcome some of the gaps and silences in the record. She takes a broad view of coupling which incorporates common law relationships, Maori ceremonies and Christian marriages sanctioned by the State and also takes account of various debates and legislative action in relation to marriage over time.
“Wanhalla draws on the recent work by anthropologists and historians such as Ann Laura Stoler to explore the history of emotion and sentiment as central to these encounters. She historicises the specific context in which these are expressed and how they changed over time in relation to the society and demographics. She notes that interracial relationships in New Zealand have often been used as evidence of ‘gentle colonialism’ but while her study of intimacy makes an important contribution to overturning simplistic paradigms of race relations on the frontier and beyond, Wanhalla still emphasises the framework of gendered and racial power struggles within which these relationships operated.”
Congratulations to Angela for her ongoing success!
Our Centre Director, Professor Tony Ballantyne, will be giving the W.H. Oliver Lecture for 2014. This event is held annually at Massey University, Palmerston North in honour of the eminent New Zealand historian, Professor Bill Oliver. Click here for further details of this public lecture.
Call for Papers
New Perspectives on James Cowan
A One-Day Symposium
Centre for Research on Colonial Culture and the Alexander Turnbull Library
National Library, Wellington, 21 February 2014
James Cowan is best known for his official history of the New Zealand Wars, but his significance for the production and circulation of knowledge about Māori in the late colonial era covered a broad range of subjects. Alan Mulgan wrote after Cowan’s death in 1943 that more than anyone else, he had ‘shown us how to think as New Zealanders’. Mulgan signaled here not only Cowan’s prolific writing, but also his cross-cultural engagement from the 1890s to the 1940s. He was himself a figure of the type he so admired: the cultural go-between. Although his work often purveys the racial ideologies of his time, Cowan’s early use of oral historical methods, and familiarity with a wide range of Māori informants, effected the transition to print of much that would not otherwise have been circulated in Pākehā contexts, or recorded in print.
Cowan’s reputation has fluctuated in response to shifts in cultural politics, writing and historiography. His work began to attract contemporary scholarly attention with an article by Chris Hilliard in NZJH in 1997. Stories of the New Zealand Bush has been republished recently with a critical introduction by Alex Calder. The Adventures of Kimble Bent was read on National Radio in 2011, and re-written as a graphic novel, and film-makers have drawn on his work over decades. Some dimensions of Cowan’s work invite closer study: his significance for iwi history, his photographic collection, and the personal life of this particularly colonial figure, for example, would repay investigation.
For this one-day event, we invite papers which evaluate Cowan’s contribution to colonial encounter and colonial memory from a wide range of perspectives.
Please send abstracts (up to 250 words) and a bio (up to 100 words) in a Word attachment, by 30 September 2013.
Abstracts and enquiries should be sent to: email@example.com
Further information about the symposium will be forthcoming.
Associate Professor Chris Hilliard, University of Sydney, will give a concluding commentary.
Annabel Cooper (Centre for Research on Colonial Culture, U of Otago)
Ariana Tikao (Research Librarian, Māori, Alexander Turnbull Library),
The biennial New Zealand Historical Association conference is being held in Dunedin from Wednesday 20 November until Friday 22 November.
Keynote Speakers are:
Associate Professor John Stenhouse (History & Art History) & Professor Hamish Spencer (Zoology) are looking for a suitably qualified student to research and write a PhD thesis on the history of eugenics in New Zealand.
The successful applicant will have a BA Hons or MA in history, preferably with First Class Honours. Some training in the history of science is desirable but not essential.
This project aims to illuminate what, if anything, was distinctive about the New Zealand eugenics movement by placing it in comparative international context.
The successful applicant must be willing to investigate the interconnections between eugenics and science, class, race, gender, nation-state and religion. This three-year project is funded by the Allan Wilson Centre for Molecular Ecology and Evolution and includes a $25,000 NZD per year scholarship, $5,000 per year for tuition fees, and funding for international travel.
To apply for this position submit a CV, academic record, two academic references, a writing sample, and a short statement of research interests to John Stenhouse: firstname.lastname@example.org
A very successful symposium on Colonial Performance was held at the Hocken Collections Seminar Room on Monday, November 19th. Presenters gave illuminating talks on a wide range of colonial performances from Irish drama in Dunedin, to Maori performers in Manhattan, to the theatre of the Dunedin police court, among other topics.
Barbara Brookes, who convened the day-long symposium, kicked off the event with a discussion of touring medical lecturer Dr. Anna Longshore Potts.
Barbara was followed by two presentations on the theatre scene in Dunedin. Lisa Warrington invited us into Dunedin’s first theatre, a converted horse stable, and Peter Kuch drew attention to the importance of Irish drama in the development of Dunedin theatre during the 1860s. Kirstine Moffatt entertained us all with stories about the amateur pianist, who appeared in private homes, at concerts held in church halls, and barns.
Unlike Richard John Seddon, who spoke for hours at a time, Tom Brooking used a mere 20 minutes to describe the role of performance in colonial politics. At the same time he revealed some of the popular prejudices against Seddon in New Zealand’s historiography. Rosi Crane drew upon her doctoral research in the history of science to show how university professors used their role as public intellectuals to advance scientific understanding, for example in the field of evolution.
Bronwyn Dalley gave a vivid account of the many re-inventions of ‘urban investigator’, free-thinker and spiritualist, Lotti Wilmott in 1880s Christchurch. The tensions between ethnographic ideas about race and “primitive” societies were put to the test by the appearance of Maori performers at New York City’s Hippodrome in 1909-10. Marianne Schultz, from Auckland University, also explored how the leaders of the US suffragette movement used the case of Maori women, who had the right to vote, in their own campaigns for enfranchisement. Michelle Willyams also looked at Maori performers and performance, highlighting the hybrid nature of the musical repertoire developed by Reverend Seamer’s Waiata Maori Choir in the 1920s and 1930s.
University of Otago MA student Fabia Fox walked us through the streets of nineteenth-century Dunedin, and into the backyards of homes in the ‘Devil’s Half-Acre’ famous for its criminal underclass. Their exploits were often played out in the Dunedin police court, and relayed to a voyeuristic reading public through the column of the court reporter. In contrast, John Stenhouse embellished his talk on the Rev. Rutherford Waddell with his own rendition of excerpts from his famous sermon on the sin of cheapness. Prof. Lyn Tribble (English) eloquently wrapped up the day, drawing together the various themes into what she described as an ecology of performance.